By ERWIN CHLANDA
It’s a pity the pride and skill of people showing their cars in the Red CentreNATS doesn’t rub off on the organisers under the control of the NT Government’s Major Events group.
The two day spectacular gets a helping hand from the taxpayer to the tune of $1.3m, judging from past media releases, but if you want to do the numbers about the benefit to the town and its economy, you’ll have to rely on government spin, not fact.
The crowd numbers are given for people “through the gate”. As we have pointed out in previous years, this is not the same thing as individuals attending: The holder of each ticket can pass through several gates any number of times.
We raised this with Chief Minister Michael Gunner after last year’s event and he promised to sort this out with Major Events – see video below. He clearly didn’t.
So we asked how many tickets were sold this year and guess what – no answer, despite having put the question to several people several times.
On September 2 we were told: “We will not be in a position to finalise attendance numbers until post event.”
Today is September 19 and we still don’t have the answer.
This year’s event had 802 car entries, 257 from Alice Springs and 545 from outside town, a number that is useful to calculate the percentage of visitors – if only the government would release the number of ticket holders.